A REVEREND has cycled 1,000 miles in ten days to raise money for a new church and community centre.

The Rev Colin Baldwin, of St Stephen’s Church, Southend, raised £10,000 by cycling around the UK, visiting 21 cathedrals in the process.

Mr Baldwin cycled from Southend to as far as Truro and then back up to Canterbury, before returning to a reception hosted by Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford.

His mission was to raise cash towards a new church and community centre which will replace St Stephen’s existing facilities.

Mr Baldwin, a former architect, said: “The cycle route was physically challenging and utterly exhausting but the support along the way was phenomenal and carried me through.

“I met some truly wonderful people and visited some wonderful buildings.

“I am passionate about making this project a reality; I really appreciate the support from the local community.”

He added: “The new development will provide the local community with a broad range of services and facilities where people can meet, celebrate and find support, alongside a quiet space for prayer and worship.”

Daniel Cowan, Southend Labour councillor for St Laurence ward, said “St Stephen’s church is such an important part of the community in this part of Southend, offering support to so many people with reducing isolation, debt advice, social events, engaging young people and worship.

“What Rev Baldwin has done to raise money and awareness of this much-loved and needed community asset is nothing short of heroic.

“I cannot commend him highly enough.

“Anything that can be done to support the church and its fundraising efforts would be much appreciated and will make such a difference to a part of the ward which has historically been overlooked and deserves a much brighter future.

“Part of my mission as a councillor is to bring back civic pride and a sense of close community to all parts of St Laurence ward.

“The vision for St Stephen’s church will be vital to that.”

The church needs to raise £50,000 to fund the proposals and £20,000 is still required.

To contribute, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/colinsbaldwin1000.